Every parent’s worst nightmare is to lose their precious child. As expected, any devoted parent would do whatever it took to save their child: climb a mountain; cross a raging river; dive to the depths of the ocean. If it meant dangling from a cliff, gripping the child with one hand to keep them from falling- they would try. Were a parent to discover a climbing ropae and carabiners, would they not certainly use them in their cliff-side rescue? If the authorities were to tell the parents of a hostage that were they to do just this one thing, their child’s safety would be guaranteed – no matter what it was, wouldn’t they try?
Without even realizing it, some parents are slowly letting their children fall from their grasp to spiritual death. If you knew that, today, there was something that you could do to save your son or daughter, wouldn’t you do it? Consider some practical things we can do now to help save our children from spiritual death:
Paint a picture. It has been said that oftentimes a child’s view of God is based on how they view their father. This ultimately should be the realization of every Christian in every relationship- that as we are called to be representations of our Lord, how we act and what we say paints a picture of God to others (Rom. 8:29). Are we careful to remind ourselves of this when with our children?
Build a beautiful home. Undoubtedly, marriages that are divided by pride, bitterness, and especially divorce have a tremendous impact on children. Let’s today work on our marriages, so that it never gets to that point. Wives: live in such a submissive and holy way that your husband can’t help but be a better man because of your influence (1 Pet. 3:1-6). Husbands: be understanding, show her honor, see her value in Christ, love her more than your own body, keep your eyes pure (1 Pet. 3:7; Eph. 5:28; Matt. 5:28).
Provide an education. Remember that the most important education that a child will ever receive won’t come from the local school district or state university. But just as the local school district requires more than one hour or one day per week of teaching, so should parents provide a thorough Bible education for their children. It begins at home with parents constantly teaching biblical truths and reading together from God’s word (Deu. 6:7). Every effort should also be made to provide opportunity for supplemental learning in Bible classes, Gospel Meetings, devotionals, etc.
Make memories, not money. Certainly, parents are responsible for providing for the well-being of their children, which requires making a living (1 Tim. 5:8). But when our time becomes monopolized with making more money so that we can give our kids more things, we are missing out on a crucial opportunity to help our children. Regularly assembling with the church is important (Heb. 10:25). Is it not likewise important to physically be with our children? Quality time provides for relationship building and in-the-moment teaching opportunities that cannot always be taught “in the classroom”. Though trips to Disneyland are fun, don’t underestimate the value of a seemingly mundane evening spent with your children away from the phone and off the computer.
Leave a legacy. Whether good or bad, the parenting that we do today will affect generations to come. Realize that we are involved in a very similar effort to what Paul was encouraging Timothy be involved in: teaching the Gospel to others so that they might be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2). The parenting that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will receive will very likely reflect the parenting that we practice, today.
Ultimately, each child makes their own decisions about their spiritual walk (Heb. 11:24-25). But just as the local shepherds are responsible for the local sheep, and will be judged accordingly (Heb. 13:17), so too should parents recognize the grave responsibility and awesome opportunity before them to shape and mold the precious souls that God has entrusted to their care.